To the editor:
As a retired vice president and hiring manager at a Boston-based national financial services company, I want to share some information on the subject of “free college education” as proposed by both Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
As a hiring manager, it was very common for me to receive more than 300 resumes a week in response to an ad for an entry-level opening I may have had in my department. It was my goal to review these resumes in order to identify the four or five people I wanted to interview in person.
Obviously, most of the resumes were from recent college graduates hoping to get a job in the Boston market. That meant that the major emphasis on their resumes was their college education. As a hiring manager, that meant I was looking to find evidence of superior analytical and communication skills earned through their college coursework. This was how I approached this issue and I am pretty certain it is the approach used by most hiring managers.
My years of recruiting and hiring college grads has shown there is a real difference between grads from private colleges and public or community schools. Hands down, there is a real difference in graduates from major colleges and universities and state or community colleges. That typically became clear to me during the interview process.
My initial screening of resumes was to separate the resumes into two groups. One would be graduates from colleges known for the quality of their course offerings. The other group was everyone else. I also drew on my experience working with employees who graduated from colleges like Harvard, Boston College, UCLA, Simmons, and Tufts, and those who graduated from one of the Massachusetts community colleges.
As an aside, it is interesting to note that several years ago, the Massachusetts Legislature voted to change the names of all the state colleges to universities as it was believed a university was viewed as higher quality than a state college.
Obviously, a college education is a huge financial commitment for both students and parents. Financial planners suggest treating saving for college like you treat saving for retirement. As such, it is important to start saving for college at an early age. In addition, I think it is critical that students strive for academic excellence at all times and strive for high SAT scores, which could result in scholarship assistance. Also, it would be a positive impact on a resume.
In closing, I hope my thoughts and real-world experience helps to clarify the promise some politicians are making to provide “free” college if they are elected. There are two old adages about “getting what you pay for” and “there is no such thing as a free lunch.”